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I have a few questions for you
Aug 18, 2011

Hi Dr. Young, I was dianosed with an Aids dianosis back on November 15, 2007. My t-cells were down to 3. I stayed in the hospital for two and a half months. 6 mos later I had the first of three strokes. True, my t-cells had risen to about 400, viral load was undetectable, but I had never heard of a 28 year old having a stroke. Now my questions are during that 6 months, I was also on kemo. Now, I have never heard of a person's t-cells rebounding back like that, so the questions is, was the kemo in fact responsible?

The second question is, if that were true, can't we HIVer's elect to take kemo?

The last question is, In th case of the man who was healed through, I can't remember, is it an option for someone like me?

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting.

Sounds like you've had a difficult go of things-- but I'm heartened to hear that your CD4 count and viral load have responded quickly to treatment. A recent published study from Denmark suggests that people living with HIV are at greater risk of having cardiovascular events, including stroke.

From your posting though, it's not entirely clear to me what type of stroke you may have had, nor the type of chemotherapy you've received. (Feel free to write back with these details if you'd like).

Your viral load recovery is indeed large, though can be seen from time to time, especially if the baseline tests (your "3") were done during a period of severe illness. My general thought is that it was your recovery from the illness (perhaps the stroke) and antiretroviral medications, rather than the specific "chemotherapy" that you received that is responsible for the rebound.

As for your last question- you're referring to the so-called Berlin Case, where a HIV-infected man with leukemia received a special bone marrow transplant to treat the cancer, but also appears to have eliminated HIV from his system. Such a strategy isn't one to consider for the general HIV+ population, as such transplants are quite dangerous, don't always work, and have, indeed, resulted in death. Nevertheless, the strategy of genetically modifying the patient's CD4 cells is very intriguing and now the subject of many different types of research studies.

I hope that helps, BY



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